Yoga is complete, permanent, unstained, and immovable. It’s been with humans for thousands of years, it’s here now and always will be. It doesn’t need to grow and certainly doesn’t need an ignoramus like me trying to improve it.
However, the business of yoga is a totally different beast. It’s like all other businesses—they come and go. The business of yoga isn’t important, but the study of yoga is. I’d love to see yoga studios become a place of study, introspection, and reflection, where asana was not offered but lectures, Jnana Yoga, and Karma Yoga were shared.
Yes, of course I will tend to the ‘hustle,’ because after all I am The Godfather of Yoga Rocks. I just have to keep in mind that the great business that I’ve been able to grow can’t take me away from the guy I really need to know. Personally, I’d like to see myself become more involved with the world inside of me that needs some ‘fixing.’ I think of U2 singing ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.’ I don’t want to sing that song and feel that chorus for the rest of my life. I want to find what I have buried away underneath all my insecurities, fears, and attachments.
Where does Yoga need to go in the next decade? Nowhere, but I certainly need to live it more.
Reprinted from Yoga Journal, September 1, 2017
When I started searching in earnest for a yoga studio that would serve my needs, I was disappointed to find that there was nothing out there for me . Having overcome addiction and having practiced clinical psychology for a decade before coming to yoga, I was looking for something more than most yogis were looking for in their first trip to a studio. I began taking one “celebrity” yogi’s class after another, looking for a fit. Then I stopped looking to others and began looking within. Smile is my style of yoga. Strange, but it was non-existent.
I want to make this the easiest practice when you open the door and walk in. Easy as in: This is familiar. This is fun. This is relative. This is pertinent. Instead of the sounds of harmonium, chanting, and prayers to Hindu deities, my Yoga Shelter studios blast music you know, instruct in plain English, and welcome everyone–and their baggage–to join the party. A tight ass might be a byproduct of the Yoga Rocks workouts, but there is so much more.
A great body does not equate a great life. If you only have so much time in a day, how much of it are you going to focus on this great body of yours? It’s a no-brainer! If you’re not focusing on your body, what are you focusing on?
That’s where the critical part of the yoga practice comes into play. I take what I learn from my teacher, Swami Parthasarathy, a Vedantic philosopher in India, and break it down into terms everyone can understand; learning to live the life we should and need to be living. Off the mat, students need to begin questioning everything.
I practice what feels familiar, and music is a big part of that. Yoga is about creating a silence within you. But you do not need a silent room externally. Music can be a game changer, especially for newbies. It can take an incredibly deep spiritual discipline and make it friendly, familiar, and less intimidating.
Rock on. Now let’s get loud.